Hybrid metaethical theories attempt to incorporate essential elements of expressivism and cognitivism, and thereby to accrue the benefits of both. Hybrid theories are often defended in part by appeals to slurs and other pejoratives, which have both expressive and cognitivist features. This paper takes far more seriously the analogy between pejoratives and moral predicates. It explains how pejoratives work, identifies the features that allow pejoratives to do that work, and models a theory of moral predicates on those features. The result is an expressivist theory that, among other advantages, is immune to embedding difficulties and avoids an overlooked difficulty concerning attitude ascriptions that is lethal to most other hybrid theories.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Philosophy The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Publication date: June 1, 2008